The Hazards of a National Geographic Photographer...

Reality Check

This page is dedicated to Wes Skiles who died doing the work he loved. Sadie Quarrier, senior photo editor, National Geographic Magazine says:   “I was lucky enough to work with Wes as his photo editor on (his) “Bahamas Blue Holes” story for NGM. He was deeply passionate about diving, exploring, photographing and protecting the waterways… Wes was big-hearted and humble yet extremely driven. He was doggedly determined to produce the best possible article on these caves he called home. He dared to dream big, and no budget or contract would stop him from going after a shot he felt we needed, even if it was on his own dime…”

There have been other deaths over the years and many serious injuries. The posts below are recent survey responses from 45 photographers about some of the hazards encountered while on assignment for the National Geographic Society. The numbers represent individual incidents.

It's a Glamorous Life

  • 1

    Streaming Blood While Hanging from Harness at 1500 feet

  • 4

    Tear Gassed

  • 1

    Lost on Arctic Ice

  • 1

    Strongyloide Invasion

  • 1

    Meningitis

  • 12

    Falls

  • 2

    Stoned by Religious Group

  • 1

    Blinded by Wasps

  • 2

    Lost in Andes

  • 9

    Groped

  • 2

    Teargassed

  • 6

    Broken Ribs

  • 10

    Rope Burn

  • 9

    Venomous Bites

  • 1

    Flesh Eating Parasites

  • 5

    Robbed

  • 4

    Broken Bones

  • 1

    Loa-Loa Worm in Eye

  • 1

    Dengue Fever

  • 1

    Viper in Camera Bag

  • 3

    Imprisoned

  • 8

    Assorted Animal Attacks

  • 1

    Hotel Surrounded by Rebels

  • 1

    Paraglider Crash Landing on Sea Ice

  • 5

    Malaria

  • 13

    Run Checkpoint

  • 1

    Broken Tail Bone

  • 16

    Various Parasites

  • 1

    Paraglider Crash Landing in Tree

  • 2

    Fall Into Crevasse

  • 29

    Frostbite (23 for one photographer)

  • 1

    Held at Knifepoint

  • 3

    Beaten

  • 1

    Out of Air Diving Under Sea Ice

  • 1

    Attack by 9,000 pound Elephant Seal

  • 13

    Robbed

  • 5

    Plane or Helicopter Crash

  • 6

    Random Assault

  • 12

    Severe Insect Problems

  • 1

    Hunted with Bows and Arrows

  • 1

    Chased by Crocodile

  • 20

    Amoebic Dysentery

  • 3

    Extreme Toxins

  • 7

    Dislocations

  • 2

    Held at Gunpoint

  • 19

    Severe Dehydration

  • 1

    Diagnosed PTSD

  • 8

    Giardia

  • 1

    Land on Rock Ledge After 90 Foot Fall

  • 2

    Buried in Avalanche

  • 2

    Seat Belt Releases with Helicopter Tipped Over Volcano

  • 1

    Punched in Face

  • 1

    Lost at Sea

  • 4

    Burns

  • 21

    Paraglider Crash

  • 1

    Paraglider Crash Landing in Ocean

  • 1

    Out of Air Diving Under Oil Rig

  • 1

    Acid Dripping Caves

  • 90

    Severe Diarrhea

  • 2

    Temporary Blindness

  • 3

    Trips into Chernobyl Reactor

  • 9

    Hypothermia

  • 1

    Penis Fish

  • 33

    Arrest or House Arrest

  • 7

    Car or Bus Crash

  • 1

    Scaffolding Collapse

  • 1

    Spitting Cobra Attacks

  • 2

    Broken Nose

  • 21

    Threatened / Detained / Abducted

  • 1

    Stabbed

  • 2

    Assault by Florida panther. 2 photographers, 2 assignments, same panther.

  • 3

    Chased by Wild Elephant

  • 1

    Bit by Ticks (in my penis)

  • 30

    Wound Infection

  • 2

    Groped